Obamacare’s Approval at Lowest Rating on Record
Policy + Politics

Obamacare’s Approval at Lowest Rating on Record

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Some 100,000 people signed up for health coverage on the state and federal exchanges on the first day of Obamacare’s second open enrollment period this weekend—compared to just six people last year amid a nightmarish rollout plagued with website issues. And despite the seemingly successful technical launch on Saturday, Obamacare is still not winning any popularity contests.

In fact, the president’s health care law has its lowest approval rating on record. According to a new Gallup poll, just 37 percent of Americans approve of the ACA.

Related: More Uninsured People Will Reject Obamacare’s Mandate

Until now, the lowest rating recorded by Gallup was 38 percent in January in the wake of the nightmarish rollout. At that time, the Obama administration was engaged in a fierce website and branding repair effort.

Since then, more than 7.3 million purchased health insurance through the law’s exchanges, and millions more gained coverage through its Medicaid expansion. Still, the majority of Americans are not fans of Obamacare.

“Approval of the law has remained low throughout the year even as it has had obvious success in reducing the uninsured rate,” Gallup’s Justin McCarthy writes in a blog post. “And with approval holding in a fairly narrow range since last fall, it may be that Americans have fairly well made up their minds about the law, and even a highly successful second open enrollment period may not do much to boost their approval.”

Unsurprisingly, opinions of the law are divided along party lines. Some 74 percent of Democrats approve of Obamacare. Compared to just 8 percent of Republicans. The law has become increasingly less popular among independents. About 33 percent approve of it—down from 39 percent in October.

And while Obamacare itself doesn’t seem to have many fans, provisions in the law do.

Related: Would a GOP Congress Embrace or Replace Obamacare?

For example, an earlier poll from Reuters/Ipsos found that 61 percent of respondents favored the ACA provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they turn 26. The poll also found that 82 percent approved of the ACA provision prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and 72 percent said they favored the employer mandate.

Approval of the law began to steadily drop last fall, when hundreds of thousands of health insurance policies were cancelled under the law, despite President Obama’s insistence that “if you like you’re plan you can keep it.” Since then, the Obama administration has allowed insurers to continue offering non-ACA compliant plans until after 2016.

Still, the public’s view of the law never rebounded.

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